Estenson Racing’s Dallas Daniels scored his second win of the season in a thrilling American Flat Track AFT Singles first Main Event of the Springfield Short Track doubleheader on Friday night. The 17-year-old was unable to repeat his spectacular comeback in the second Main and finished fifth, but the evening’s results put him into championship contention. His teammate Mikey Rush showed speed all night with two commanding wins in both Semis, but unfortunately, tough luck in the Main Events had him ending the night with a 13th- and fourth-place finish.
With the unique circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, American Flat Track AFT Singles riders raced to events on the same night. The two Main Events combined with the qualifying Semi meant for physically demanding 56 laps on Friday night on the Short Track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Arena. Daniels day got off to a tough start, qualifying 12th and putting on the second row of the grid for both of his Semis. The fast kid from Illinois fought his way back for a good result in both qualifying races, crossing the line third and second.
Daniels got a decent start from the second row in Main Event 1 and passed a couple of riders to tuck behind his teammate on the second lap. He and Rush were running 1-2 before the red flag came out with just under four minutes left of the six-minute-plus-two-lap race. Daniels got a good jump after the staggered restart and was maintaining the runner-up position until a big moment on the exit of Turn 2. Although he quickly recovered he lost a couple of positions. Daniels kept knocking down the laps and was able to make the move to the front on the final lap, to score his third career win and his second in his home state of Illinois.
In the second Main Event, he got a decent start in fourth but the changing track made for a more difficult race and he was unable to pull off the same charge to front and found himself in sixth. Daniels was able to make another last-lap pass to finish fifth and move up into the second spot in the championship.
On the other side of the coin, Rush had a good qualifying in the top 10 and dominated both of his Semi races to put him in a good position for the points-paying races. In the first Main, Rush struck early taking over the lead at the start of the second lap. He put his head down and built a comfortable gap while the competition battled behind him. Unfortunately on lap 18, the Californian’s rear wheel went off track in turn two and he spun out of the lead. Rush recovered and rejoined the race, and was able to salvage some points with a 13th-place finish.
Starting from pole in the second Main, he once again went into the first turn in second and kept chasing after the leader. The veteran knocked down the laps in the runner-up spot but unfortunately for Rush, his leg got pulled back making for a long race. He did his best to hold off the competition, but it grew increasingly difficult in the final moments of the race and he crossed the line fourth.
The Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins gets their turn today and tomorrow at the Springfield Mile I & II before the entire team heads east for next weekend’s Williams Grove Half-Mile doubleheader in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Tommy Hayden – Estenson Racing Team Manager
“The night went well overall, with Dallas winning. It got him back in the championship hunt. It was also a little bittersweet with Mikey falling off. He rode so well all night and has been so close to winning. I know one is right around the corner for him. We’ll keep pushing for that. In the second race, we expected more. We definitely were faster than that all night. The track changed a little bit and we didn’t quite have the speed that we had had in the Semis before that. So that’s unfortunate, but two top fives are good for the points race. We learned a lot and are looking forward to next week Williams Grove.”
Dallas Daniels – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“I’ve been kind of struggling a little bit these past few races. Even though I say that, we’ve gotten two wins now. I didn’t realize that I was the first rider this season to get two wins, so it’s great to build off of that and also at home. I had a lot of friends and family in the stands, people that only get to come to a few races came out and they were cheering me on. That made it way sweeter.
“Tonight, obviously a very long night. We didn’t have much time to celebrate or recover. We had to go right back out and we were able to get second in the semi for my first front-row start. The track was a lot different than it was in the first Main Event. It was a little blown off and it was slick. It was really rough and deep up top. I just was not able to match the pace of the guys up front. I was able to get fifth out of it and moved up to second in the points tonight, 20 behind Henry (Wiles) which is a huge step forward for us. We started off the year not even making the Main Event and now we’re for sure in this championship hunt. We got a long string of races coming up. Only one weekend off in-between this and I think the rest of the season, which I like, honestly. So we’re just going to go back home and do our homework and hopefully do the same thing at the next one.”
Mikey Rush – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“The first Main was going great. I led it for 18 laps, and then got shuffled a little wide coming out of turn two and it was really rough. The back wheel fell off the edge of the track and it made me spin out, so that was the end of that one. The second one I was still off to a good start. I got a pretty good jump and ran second for a while. I was trying to match the guy’s pace in front of me and then caught my foot in a hole and ripped my leg back. That got a little sore at the end so the last five laps I was kind of just milking it and the other two guys got by me while I was in survivor kind of milking it in survivor mode.
“I couldn’t thank the Estenson Yamaha team enough. Everyone worked their tails off for me all day today and all year. I’m just really hungry to get that first win for them. That’s what I really want to do. I’ll just keep working towards that and we’ll come back swinging next weekend.”